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Autarchism is a political philosophy that promotes the principles of individualism, the moral ideology of individual liberty and self-reliance. It rejects compulsory government, and supports the elimination of government in favor of ruling oneself, to the exclusion of rule by others.
Advocates of the philosophy are autarchists, while the state in which everyone rules themselves and no one else is called autarchy. The term autarchism is derived from Greek, meaning belief in self rule.
Robert LeFevre, a "self-proclaimed autarchist" recognized as such by Murray Rothbard, distinguished autarchism from anarchy, whose economics he felt entailed interventions contrary to freedom, in contrast to his own laissez-faire economics of the Austrian School. In professing "a sparkling and shining individualism" while "it advocates some kind of procedure to interfere with the processes of a free market", anarchy seemed to LeFevre to be self-contradictory. He situated the fundamental premise of autarchy within the Stoicism of philosophers such as Zeno, Epicurus and Marcus Aurelius, which he summarized in the credo, "Control yourself". Fusing these influences together, he arrived at the autarchist philosophy: "The Stoics provide the moral framework; the Epicureans, the motivation; the praxeologists, the methodology. I propose to call this package of ideological systems autarchy, because autarchy means self-rule." LeFevre stated that "the bridge between Spooner and modern-day autarchists was constructed primarily by persons such as H. L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, and Mark Twain".
Ralph Waldo Emerson, although he did not call himself an autarchist, is considered to have espoused autarchy. Philip Jenkins has stated that "Emersonian ideas stressed individual liberation, autarchy, self-sufficiency and self-government, and strenuously opposed social conformity.". Robert D. Richardson stated that the anarchy Emerson had in mind "would be 'autarchy', rule by self".
The essay "Autarchy, or, the art of self government," published in 1691 in London and listing the author as "G.B.," is attributed to George Burghope by NUC and to both Burghope and George Bright by Donald Goddard Wing.
- Rational anarchism
- Individualist anarchism
- Grubbs Jr., K. E. (June 1989). "Book Review: Robert LeFevre: Truth Is Not a Half-way Place by Carl Watner". The Freeman. Foundation for Economic Education. 39 (6).[permanent dead link]
- Rothbard, Murray N. (2007). The Betrayal of the American Right, Ludwig von Mises Institute, p. 187. ISBN 978-1-933550-13-8
- "Autarchy vs Anarchy" by Robert LeFevre. Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought Vol. 1, No. 4 (Winter, 1965): 30–49
- "Autarchy" by Robert LeFevre. Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer, 1966): 1–18
- Jenkins, Philip (1995). A History of the United States. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 108. ISBN 0-312-16361-4.
- Richardson, Jr., Robert D (1997). Emerson: The Mind on Fire. University of California Press. p. 535. ISBN 0-520-20689-4.
- Johns Hopkins University Libraries Catalog[permanent dead link], text available by request from microfilm. For more on attribution-source information on the JHULC page: "NUC pre-1956 Imprints," see National Union Catalog; Wing see (Bibliographer Donald Wing (1904–1972) from "About Early English Books II, 1641–1700 (STC II, Wing)"] Section "Wing." An Early English Books Online (EEBO) FAQ. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
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- "Politics" by Ralph Waldo Emerson – In it, he advocates the practice of self-government as the most rightful way to organize individuals in society (1844).
- The Nature of Man and His Government by Robert LeFevre – an introduction by Rose Wilder Lane (1959).
- "On the Other Hand" by Robert LeFevre. Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer, 1966): 83–88
- "Self-Government" by Donald J. Boudreaux. The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. September 2000 Vol. 50, No. 9
- The Center For Self Rule – Educational organization advocating Autarchism